West Coast rocker Greg Loiacono, stepping out his role as co-founder of The Mother Hips, is releasing his vintage soul inspired new album, Giving It All Away (Blue Rose), today. The album is a collection of originals and reimagined covers that could speak to the dualities of love and heartbreak while simultaneously challenging Loiacono to fully inhabit a new vocal approach. Loiacono dives headfirst into the dichotomies of love, exploring happiness and heartache and redemption and regret, all with great insight and empathy. The album is streaming now at Relix Magazine and is available on CD, vinyl and through all streaming services.
The recording instantly transports you back to a time when soul music was a regular part of the Billboard charts, and radio was still how people were turned on to new music. Recorded at Spacecamp, Dave Schools’ (Widespread Panic) Northern California studio, the album was produced by Scott Hirsch (Hiss Golden Messenger) who contributes acoustic guitar, along with Michael Urbano on drums (Sheryl Crow, John Hiatt), Schools on bass guitar, Danny Eisenberg (Counting Crows, Jonathan Richmond) on Hammond organ, and Vicki Randle (Mavis Staples, Aretha Franklin) and Kelly McFarling on backing vocals.
Loiacono had spent lockdown producing records for other artists and revisiting country and soul music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and the songs and sounds on Giving It All Away capture that vibe perfectly. He credits Hirsch for pushing him beyond his comfort zone as an artist, forcing him to embrace his falsetto singing voice and write with a clarity and directness that felt fresh and inspired.
“Recording live was essential because the rhythm section is the centerpiece of these songs,” Loiacono explains. “We knew we had to keep everything feeling groovy and deep in the pocket at all times, even on the slowest songs.
That emphasis on groove is undeniable on Giving It All Away, which sounds straight out of the late ’60s or early ’70s with wide-open drums, buoyant bass lines, and lush organ pads. The intoxicating “Can’t Forget” wears its broken heart on its sleeve as a badge of honor, while the doo wop-tinged “Mr. G” grapples with the burning questions that linger long after a relationship has ended. The breezy title track takes solace in the revelation that you can never share your heart too freely. “We’re only living when we’re giving it all away,” Loiacono sings. “You can’t take it with you when you go."
Loiacono’s artful cover choices help reinforce that notion throughout the record, as well. The soulful “You’ll Lose A Good Thing” (originally by Barbara Lynn, though later performed by Freddy Fender) refuses to grow jaded in the face of rejection, while an R&B reinterpretation of The Mother Hips’ “Del Mar Station” transforms bitterness into determination, and the inspired take on Genesis’s “That’s All,” which makes peace with love’s fickle nature.
Giving it All Away
What Can I Say
Even Though I Lost
Love is The Way
Del Mar Station
And Not Cry
You'll Lose a Good thing
Album release shows (full band):
August 12th- The Sweetwater, Mill Valley, CA
August 13th- Harlow’s Nightclub, Sacramento, CA
August 19th- Michael’s on Main ,Soquel, CA
August 20th- Chico Women’s Club, Chico, CA
— stay tuned for additional dates